Somos el Cuerpo de Cristo
Thoughts from Some Fellow Parishioners of Holy Spirit. December 11, 2005
In the spirit of the sentiment that “little things might mean a lot,” here are some observations from the Second Sunday of Advent:
1. It seems completely out of whack to cover the baptismal font, no matter what the reasons might be. The font is where our Christian lives began and its place at the church’s entrance is a strong sign of the bond created in its waters. Particularly odd was this covering happening during a Sunday when the Gospel reading so prominently featured baptism.
2. Not only must we put up the @#!* rose on the altar table, now we have loose-leaf binders taking up semi-permanent residence there. The nearly sacred GIRM (which is applied so often, and so often incorrectly, to criticize liturgical practice in our formerly vibrant Parish) is very clear about what can be on the altar table—loose-leaf binders and roses don’t make the cut.
3. The Advent Wreath is a time-honored tradition of the season and the Church recognizes its appropriateness and allows for its lighting each Sunday. The time for this is to be either before Mass begins, or after the Prayers of the Faithful. The Reverend Monsignor, again figuring the direction and advice of the Church isn’t really important when his personal taste is involved, has decided to have the lighting in lieu of the required penitential rite.
In other words, a mandated part of Mass has been replaced by something extra-liturgical. Again, this is particularly odd, since the Advent season is a penitential one in which we are called to a change of heart. Has this person ever studied the theology and practice of the liturgy at all?
4. More than thirty months after the last para-liturgical “communion service” was held in the courtyard outside of church (in the midst of the workers being locked out of their jobs) there are still criticisms being heard of what took place then. Please, no one thought those services were Eucharistic Celebrations; they were gatherings of a community unwilling to celebrate a Eucharist presided over by a person who had attempted to break apart the community.
What is ironic is that we now have Masses in our parish that are really glorified communion services, since virtually all the Eucharistic Bread that is distributed has been pre-consecrated. This practice is specifically discouraged in the GIRM (allowed only when unexpected crowds require it)—the host of the banquet that is “the center of our lives” is serving leftovers!
According to the Sunday Bulletins, in the past eight weeks parishioners have donated $9,898.03 less than the $116,000 the parish budget called for during that period. If the spending patterns of the last fiscal year have continued (13.4% over budget), then during this eight-week period an additional shortfall of $15,538.08 was created. This gives a total of $25,436 of red ink (versus budget) for the eight-week period ending December 4th. Stretching that pattern for an entire year, the Parish would fall short by $165,334.
By the way, why is it that there continue to be collections for the building fund when the annual fiscal report indicated a balance of $56,319.13 in the fund and a loan balance of only $34,954.13?
Christianity: A Community of Right Relationships
“The document [the Vatican’s latest on gays and seminaries] correctly points out the need to screen for emotional maturity of candidates for the priesthood. Unfortunately, the only disqualifying element spoken about at length is sexual orientation.
“Emotional maturity takes in a wide spectrum of issues. Our experience in the pews suggests that homosexuality is low on the list of indicators of immaturity. We in the pews see the greatest signs of immaturity, for instance, among priests who seem to dislike dealing with their own parishioners; who have an undue fascination with wearing peculiar garb as a symbol of office; who are unable to engage in collegial efforts; who believe that leadership and authority comprise issuing dictates; who hold the conviction that Christianity is a religion of rules and rubrics, not a community of right relationships.”
From the National Catholic Reporter, December 9th.
“Religion is the most dangerous energy source known to humankind. The moment a person (or government or religion or organization) is convinced that God is either ordering or sanctioning a cause or project, anything goes. The history, worldwide, of religion-fueled hate, killing, and oppression is staggering. The biblical prophets are in the front line of those doing something about it.
“The biblical prophets continue to be the most powerful and effective voices ever heard on this earth for keeping religion honest, humble, and compassionate. Prophets sniff our injustice, especially injustice that is dressed up in religious garb. They sniff it out a mile away. Prophets see through hypocrisy, especially hypocrisy that assumes a religious pose.”
From Eugene H. Peterson, The Message, NavPress, 2002, p. 1641
Viva la Unión
“While the workers [some 5,000 janitors who have joined the union in Houston] have some powerful forces arrayed against them, they also have some strong friends. The Roman Catholic Church is with them. Archbishop Joseph Fiorenza told a union meeting in Houston that the unionizing activity is ‘truly God’s work.’”
From the column, Unionizing works for poor Americans, by Froma Harrop, San Antonio Express-News, December 6th.
On Tuesday, December 13th, the lawyers for the UFW and the Diocese will meet—Guys, remember what is “truly God’s work” and Do The Right Thing!
Speaking of Rights and of What is Right
Human Rights are being taken from people all over the world, including the U.S. Of particular concern are human rights abuses in Colombia due to massive U.S. financial support for the Colombian Army through PLAN COLOMBIA.
Massive displacements and massacres of peace community leaders, union organizers, peasants, women, and children happen every day. Most of the perpetrators are from the Colombian military, many of them graduates of the infamous SOA (School of the Americas) in Georgia, and related paramilitary organizations. PLAN COLOMBIA is considered by many as the military instrument for Free Trade of the Americas. Visit http://www.soawne.org/
From the Peace and Justice Committee of the Holy Spirit Community
Hope has two lovely daughters. They are anger and courage. Anger that things are not what they ought to be; courage to make them what they might be. St. Augustine
Prepared by RGV Parishioners for Progress and edited by Jerry Brazier. Copy this, and pass it on to fellow parishioners, either by e-mail or paper. If you want an opportunity for prayerful discussion of these and other issues about the parish or have any other comments, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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